Litigatrix

A story I often tell is about the first time I took a deposition. I got there early, and I thought that the most important thing was to control the witness. I didn’t realize the first time around that the way you control somebody is not by intimidating them. But I adjusted the chair that I was sitting on so that I’d be really tall, and could look down imposingly on the witness. But I raised it so high that as soon as I sat down, I toppled over and fell backward.

Amy Schulman, executive vice president and general counsel of Pfizer, in a New York Times interview about her leadership style.

(Additional excerpts and discussion, after the jump.)

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Associates are hoping that Cravath will kick off this year’s bonus season with news that engenders gratitude.

We’re also entering the season when major law firms announce their new partners. As we did last year, we’ll keep track of some of this action. Feel free to email us with information about the new partners at your firm and what the picks say about the firm’s direction and priorities.

At Wachtell Lipton, which announced its new partners on Tuesday afternoon, three lawyers can give thanks for being named to the powerhouse firm’s partnership. With profits per partner in excess of $4 million, they are the 1 percent.

Who are the new WLRK partners?

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About a month ago, we brought you the story of Alisha Smith, an assistant attorney general from New York who was suspended for allegedly moonlighting as a dominatrix. Her reported sexual proclivities earned her our Lawyer of the Day title, so it wasn’t a surprise when she beat the competition into submission to take September’s Lawyer of the Month title.

Today, however, we have news that our lascivious ligatrix can dish it out, but isn’t exactly a fan of taking it. Although whips and chains may excite her, being on the receiving end of a professional spanking just isn’t as erotic.

Smith and her sexy alter ego, Alisha Sparks, have gone public with some new information that may be shocking to those in the BDSM community….

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We enjoy giving our readers the occasional peek behind the Biglaw curtain. Last month, for example, we shared with you the internal interview manual that Sullivan & Cromwell provides to its attorneys who conduct on-campus interviews at law schools.

Today, in a similar spirit, we take an inside look at the annual review process for attorneys at Skadden Arps. We’re into the fourth quarter of 2011, so these reviews are not far away.

In this special report, we’ll provide general observations on the Skadden review process, highlight noteworthy comments from leaked attorney evaluations, and show you a few reviews in their entirety (redacted to remove lawyer and client names). This information should interest Biglaw associates who want to know what partners look for junior lawyers, and it should also appeal to partners at other firms who want ideas on how to structure annual reviews.

If you’re interested in learning more about performance reviews at one of the world’s biggest and best law firms, please keep reading….

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I’m a man who likes to drink. In public. Often to the point of intoxication. So I’m not here to judge anybody who goes out and gets drunk. I’m not a hypocrite.

But I will say that it’s been a while since I went out on an epic bender. Something about getting older. You just feel the vomitous black-out coming on and it’s hard to push beyond that barrier.

Well, it’s hard for me. Maybe not so much for Laura L. Flippin. She’s a lawyer, a partner at DLA Piper. The Washington Post reports that last month she got charged with public intoxication.

The police report states that Laura Flippin’s blood alcohol level was .253, which is flippin’ epic…

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Lauren Serafin and Robert Leighton

Chicago sounds like a tough town for romance. Check out the first Courtship Connection date that went down in the Windy City. Let’s hope that future dates go better.

Chitown was also the venue for Serafin v. Leighton. In this lawsuit, a lovely young lawyer, Lauren Serafin, sued her handsome ex-fiancé, Sidley Austin associate Robert Leighton, for “breach of promise” to marry. Serafin alleged that Leighton cheated on her during his Las Vegas bachelor party, with a woman named “Danielle,” and then broke off the engagement — saddling Serafin with almost $63,000 in wedding- and honeymoon-related expenses.

We now bring you an update on this saga….

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Nancy Grace: You'll be seeing a lot more of her.

Ever since the acquittal of Casey Anthony, people have been wondering: What has Nancy Grace been up to? The prosecutrix turned pundit got some major mileage out of the Casey Anthony trial, which she followed with maniacal dedication. How could she top her gavel-to-gavel coverage of the infamous “Tot Mom” trial?

Earlier today, “Nancy Grace” started trending on Twitter. It was from Twitter that I learned of Nancy Grace’s second act.

You’ll have a hard time believing this, but it seems to be true….

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We all know Michele Bachmann as the Tea Party darling running for the Republican presidential nomination. Before that, Bachmann the Congresswoman became famous for making some of the most truly ignorant statements in modern American politics.

But few people know that before Bachmann became a crazy-eyed, anti-tax standard bearer, Bachmann was a lawyer. A tax lawyer. Working for the IRS. That’s right, as a lawyer Bachmann helped the government collect taxes.

But I wouldn’t call her a hypocrite. It seems she wasn’t all that good at collecting taxes….

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I am not proud to admit this, but it is possible that my three-year-old niece knows more about branding than I do. I learned this the other day when I was reading my niece one of her favorite books, Fancy Nancy.

For those of you who not know Nancy, she is a little girl who loves to dress fancy, act fancy and talk fancy. For example, this little girl does not say that her favorite color is purple. She prefers fuchsia, a word that is “fancy” for purple. Similarly, Nancy does not want a new hairdo. No, Nancy uses the fancy word “coiffure” instead. For some reason, my niece loves Nancy, but I think she is a showoff. When asked why she loves the know-it-all Nancy, my niece explained that she made things sound better.

Maybe my niece had a point. If you want your small firm to sound better, then use fancy words. As Nancy would explain, do not call yourself a “trial lawyer.” Everyone knows that “litigator” is fancy for trial lawyer. Or is it?

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Big news out of Washington today: Bob Bauer is stepping down as White House counsel. He’s returning to his former firm, Perkins Coie, where he will represent Barack Obama as his personal lawyer and serve as general counsel to President Obama’s re-election campaign. Bauer is being replaced by his top deputy, leading litigatrix Kathryn Ruemmler.

Kathy Ruemmler is no stranger to these pages. She’s famous for her role as a lead prosecutrix in the Enron fraud case — and for her fabulous footwear.

Let’s learn more about Ruemmler’s shoes — are they peep-toes? — and review her impressive résumé….

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